The Missed Opportunity in Defining Open Source #OpenCoreSummit

Posted on

I’m at my Ph.D. student retreat, following the Open Core Summit, a commercial conference on the use of open source strategies by product vendors, on Twitter. From afar, it appears that the attack on the definition of open source has made it to the conference. This is regrettable, but possible because of a root problem with the open source definition as defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI): It is about the licenses only. Only on the side, in the open source initiative’s mission statement does it say something about process:

“Open source enables a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is higher quality, better reliability, greater flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.”

From the mission statement of the Open Source Initiative

Most commercial open source violates this community-based collaborative process. But by not making it a defining element of the definition, the OSI opened the door for the current turmoil, in which some vendors are trying to change the legal definition of open source into allowing other types of licenses so that they can ride on the goodwill of the term open source.

I guess it is too late to work in the process aspect into an official open source definition and to fix that long standing omission. Or is it?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.